LOCAL sporting organisations are gravely concerned about the uncertain future of Tuffins Lane.
The area is home to the Hastings River Junior District Cricket Association, along with Port Macquarie touch football and oz tag.
Port FC also play their home games at the precinct in winter.
But now it has emerged council has received 18 months notice to vacate the sporting fields currently leased there.
It means both the junior and senior State Cup touch football events could also be on borrowed time.
The State Cup events injects millions of dollars into the economy every 12 months and with the contract up for renewal, finding an alternate venue for this major event is imperative.
Council has had the lease on the Tuffins Lane site for many years, with the current lease commencing in 2009.
Council has previously forward paid the lease fee for the entire term of the lease to 2036. The 18 months notice to vacate extends to early March 2018.
General manager Craig Swift-McNair was confident they had time to find alternate venues.
“The 18 month notice period allows us to fulfill our existing contractual obligations to NSW Touch for both the Junior and Senior State Touch Cup events, and allows us time to secure an alternate site,” he said.
“Council has been exploring additional sporting field options right across the area for some time, and the council adopted Recreation Action Plan highlights the need for new sporting infrastructure as our community continues to grow.”
Port Macquarie Touch Football Association vice-president Wayne Prince was “gobsmacked” by the news.
“They’re playing with people’s lives,” he said.
“Where does cricket go? What about soccer? What about motel owners who benefit from tens of thousands of dollars every year from the State Cup?
“I cannot fathom what’s gone on; we’ll be left with dust bowls.”
It won’t just impact on touch football.
Six out of the 11 cricket pitches the juniors have for their competition are located out near the airport.
Junior president Merv Bourke said if they lost half of those available pitches, there would be real concerns about the competition and where the juniors would play.
“Put simply, if we lose those fields we wouldn’t have enough fields to run our competition,” he said.
“Cricket isn’t like any other sport where you can just put in another time slot; we’d have difficulty in having a functioning competition.”
Bourke is also disappointed by the communication between stakeholders and council as to the state of play.
“The lack of communication between the stakeholders and council is disappointing,” he said.